FUNAMBULIST: The Dreaded F Word by G. Ackman

Word Count 350

The Dreaded F Word
by G. Ackman

Famous Funambulist Suffers Fatal Fall
as Reported by Francis Furloff, Fox Channel Four

Last Friday, February the fifth is a day that no one will soon forget. A flood of frenzied fans began gathering at four in the morning, fascinated with Frederick the Funambulist and his fearless feats of daring. Today he had the forethought to schedule the most frightening feat of all – crossing Niagara Falls. The Falls have fascinated and intrigued visitors for decades. Families and wayfarers all flock here to see and hear the flood of water flowing over the face of the precipice. Today, though, they came to see Frederick, the famous Funambulist, faultlessly employ his finesse and propel his feet across a narrow wire fixed across the far-ranging gorge. One flaw in his usually fine form could send him flying to a fatal end. But there was no sense of foreboding among the audience this morning, and we will never know if Frederick had any foresight about his fated end.

It all began fairly routinely. Frederick found the time to fraternize with his fans before forming his mind to the feat at hand. One step, two steps, three steps, four steps and he was in front of the viewing field, free of any supporting formation. There was an audible flutter among the crowd as Frederick began his formidable task of crossing the open gorge with the full-voiced falls roaring far beneath him. And then it happened. One fault. One little loss of footing and in a flash, his arms flailed wildly and his foot flapped, as he tried to regain his balance, but it was futile. The frightened look on his face is imprinted on the memory of every fan who was there.

Later, forensic researchers blamed the fierce winds, which were blowing at fifty miles an hour that morning. Frederick had been forewarned about them, but had forgotten that he was fallible and chose to finish what he had set out to do. There are rumors that future funambulists will be forbidden from any such feat in order to forestall any more tragedies like that of Frederick, whose fame will now be for falling more than for funambulating.

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